DOLPHINS UPDATE: Rookie sensation CB Sean Smith and CB starter Jason Allen are out of tonight's game with the FLU. Various media outlets are reporting it is the Swine Flu, but other reports indicate that no tests have been done and doctors are generally calling any flu this time of year as "suspected swine flu."
UPDATE- I took down an item about a person in Miami being indicted because there is a dispute about just who it is.
We just couldn't wait anymore, especially since fans started talking smack on the blog yesterday.
With the home town Fins coming off a surprising playoff appearance last year, we break down the AFC East:
Bills: Just signed their #1 pick, DE pass rushing specialist Aaron Maybin to shore up their anemic pass rush. But perhaps too little too late as Maybin missed most of training camp and will not have an immediate impact. And too much TO could have the same impact once the season starts. Most importantly, Bills RB Marshaw Lynch is out with a 4 game suspension. Bills have another tough season and will be lucky to be 8-8.
J..E...T....S.: First year head coach, rookie QB. Nuff said. We like Rex Ryan, and the Jets will have a tough D. But we don't see a running game able to take the pressure off the QB. Also weak at the WR position.
NE Cheaters: Brady is back. (Yawn.) He will have a good season. (Yawn.) The Pats will win the AFC East. (Yawn). They ain't doing much this year. F/A Signings were Fred Taylor (old) Joey Galloway (older) Shawn Springs (old). The Cheats will go 10-5 or 11-6 and out in the first and second round of the playoffs. (yawn).
DOLPHINS. This team is on the way up, make no mistake about it. However the Dolphins may not have a better record than last year. The Cheaters won't be surprised by the Wildcat, although we can look for the next evolution of the Wildcat- throwing- which is why the Fins drafted QB Pat White and blew it by not signing Vick. Vick would have made this team a legitimate SB contender. Now with a more difficult schedule the Fins will have to compete for a wildcard slot. And with teams like the Ravens and Titans on the rise, and other AFC powerhouses like the Chargers and the Steelers, it is no safe bet the Fins will make the playoffs. They need to get off to a good start by beating the Colts at first home game, as the Colts will be a strong contender for a wild card spot this year.
It all comes down to running and defense. Query: Which team has the most yardage running since 1970? The Steelers, with the Cowboys in second place about 5,000 yards behind. Which team has won the most superbowls since 1970? Yup, the Steelers, and the Cowpokes won 3 in the 1990's. The point is that you run to the superbowl. Can Ricky and Ronnie carry the load? Yes. The Dolphins have arguably the strongest running game in their division.
Defense also wins Championships. Recall the SB winner last year and remember what they did on defense. The Fins defense is shaky. We will have a Rookie CB starting on one side, most likely Sean Smith, who was a steal in the second round. First round CB pick Vontae Davis is heading to be a bust- his athleticism does not make up for his lack of football knowledge and desire to play the game. Remember that his brother, a first round TE for the 49'ers is also turning out to be a bust for the same reason.
The Fins are aging on the D-line/linebacker spots. Joey Porter peaked last year and Jason Taylor peaked a few years ago when he was the defensive player of the year. Matt Roth has a mystery injury, most likely a sports hernia that will require surgery, and DT Jason Ferguson is entering his 13th year. DE Phillip Merling was a steal last year, and this is the year for Channing Crowder and Will Allen to step it up to the next level and play pro-bowl caliber defense.
The Dolphins are still a growing team. The future is Chad Henne not Chad Pennington. However the fins are weak at WR. Ginn is a developing solid starter but Devon Bess and Greg Camarillo will not make any of us soon forget Duper and Clayton at wide receiver. That's why the running game is so important.
9-7 will be good, 10-6 might be a reach.
Rumpole's AFC East predicted final standings.